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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I'm new to this board & this is my first post.  I signed up because I couldn't get a good answer anywhere else.  I enjoy reading translated classics like War & Peace, Les Miserables etc.  One problem I noticed was that when I'm searching on amazon - I type war & peace e.g. & get a few dozen versions.  I have to painfully click through each of these Kindle editions to figure out the translator (very important don't you think?).

When I download free samples of FREE books, I receive some random chapter from the middle of the book without the cover & intro/edition info pages - I don't get the info on who translated the editions! What the Hey!!
 

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I am pretty sure when you get a sample you are getting it from the very first page, so if you are getting unsatisfactory results from the samples, then it's a good chance that's a badly formatted book.  This happens a lot with the classics unfortunately since they are public domain and anyone can try to sell them.  You may also try hitting the previous page button because books can have a start page set that goes beyond the actual start of the file.  If you are looking for certain translations you may need to pay a little bit for one of the better versions since a lot of the free ones won't really be worried with anything more than converting whatever copy they got and putting it up.

I think Project Gutenberg is a good place to try if you do want them free.  They tend to have better quality overall than having to go through the dozens of copies on Amazon.  But with the Amazon ones, I would sort by price highest to lowest or by review and see what you can find.  I wouldn't worry with clicking or sampling any copies unless they had a good review, this includes zero reviews.
 

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If you know what translation you are looking for you can find that version on the dtb page then click on the kindle version. This doesn't always work so still use samples.  I know war and peace, peavers tranlstion is kindled, and well formatted.  So you can search in kindle books, (title, translators name) and get that version if you know translators name on version you want.
 

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Hi Pleeho,

I know and understand your pain. Your frustration is my frustration when it comes down to reading the classics. If you wish to read War and Peace, I would highly recommend the Richard Pevear translation, and there is a Kindle version. Here is the link:

http://www.amazon.com/War-and-Peace/dp/B001CBMX7Y/ref=ed_oe_k?tag=kbpst-20

Anna Karenina:

http://www.amazon.com/Anna-Karenina-Oprah-5-ebook/dp/B0023EFB1O/ref=ed_oe_k?tag=kbpst-20

Another exceptional resource for classical books come from mobile reference. They're great because all of the writer's works are in one file for a very low price.

Here is their link in case you wish to look for any works or authors. Amazon provides many of them! Hope this helps:

www.mobilereference.com
 

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pleeho said:
One problem I noticed was that when I'm searching on amazon - I type war & peace e.g. & get a few dozen versions. I have to painfully click through each of these Kindle editions to figure out the translator (very important don't you think?).
It IS important, and I haven't seen a way to find out either. Even when you click on each version and read the reviews, you sometimes find books for which Amazon posts the same review for different editions, so when the review says "this translation by xyz is the best" you can't tell which edition they're referring to. Some editions don't even give the translator at all! There are at least a couple of books that I didn't buy because there's a huge difference in the translations and I couldn't tell for certain which was which. For one book, offered in about a dozen versions, I called CS and asked specifically which of those was the xyz translation, and they were unable to tell me. I guess not enough people care (or realize that it makes a difference!) for Amazon to bother with this "little detail".

I gave up on those -- I'll search for the version I want as a DTB, and limit my Kindling to English-language originals. Sad, but too frustrating to do otherwise. If you find more info on how to determine the translator, please post it here!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the info - I'm surprised to know that this is a real problem and not just something I don't know how to access. I wrote a note to amazon that this is unacceptable but don't know how they'll remedy it.  In the case of War & Peace, those who have read Maude, Garnett, and Pevear/Volokhonsky editions could easily determine immediately whose version they're reading, but for the rest of us,  we need this critical bit of info.  It couldn't be too difficult for an amazon intern to spend a couple years adding the translator to the titles of these books would it?
 

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Books as old as War and Peace are in the public domain and thus can be obtained legally for free. If you see several editions of the same book, it's most likely in the public domain already. Don't waste your time with the con artists on Amazon who try to profit from work that isn't their own (with the one exception possibly being the fine folks at MobileReference who seem to give you a lot of bang for your buck by putting all of an author's works together).

Two free versions of War and Peace:

http://feedbooks.com/book/83
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16794

Edit: Just to clarify, I'm not calling Amazon themselves con artists. I'm referring to the hucksters who take public domain work and try to make a buck. Case in point: *I* could go ahead and upload War and Peace to the Kindle store myself and start making money. It's ridiculous.
 

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There are a vast amount of books in the public domain, and just because they are old, doesn't mean they aren't interesting. I've read plenty of excellent novels dating way back and enjoyed them thoroughly.
 

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True, but as the OP stated, on translated works, sometimes who the translator is really matters. Some of the public domain ones were translated well, some weren't. Some were translated by the "standards" of the time. Meaning translators censored the works. This is very common in translations of The Count of Monte Cristo during the early 1900's, which are now US public domain. A lot of the sexual aspects (homosexual and lesbian) in the story was so translated it is masked, or it was completely omitted. I, personally, have strong preferences of knowing the identity of the translator, and why they made the choices they made. It really can, and does effect a story, IMHO.
 

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Red said:
True, but as the OP stated, on translated works, sometimes who the translator is really matters. Some of the public domain ones were translated well, some weren't.
Very true, but most of the versions on Amazon come from the texts that are already free in the public domain. Unless they're being put out by a legitimate company, you're getting the same old crap - and with a price tag attached to it.
 
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